The verb be has the following forms:

Present simple: Affirmative I am
You are
He/She/It is
We are
You are
They are
  Question form: Am I?
Are you?
Is he/she it?
Are we?
Are you?
Are they?
  Negative: I am not/ I’m not
You are not/ aren’t
He/She/It is not/ isn’t
We are not/aren’t
You are not/aren’t
They are not/aren't
Past simple   I was
You were
He/She/It was
We were
You were
They were
The past participle:   been.  
Present perfect:   has/have been  
Past perfect:   had been  

 The verb be is used in the following patterns:

1. with a noun:

My mother is a teacher.
Bill Clinton was the president of the US.

2. with an adjective:

This soup is very tasty.
The children were good.

2.1 with the -ing form to make the continuous aspect

We were walking down the street.
Everything was wet. It had been raining for hours.

2.2 with the -ed form to make the passive voice

The house was built in 1890.
The street is called Montagu Street.
This car was made in Japan.

3. with a prepositional phrase:

John and his wife are from Manchester.
The flowers are on the table.








I couldn't find the right section in the list of grammar units, so maybe here you could answer my question: is it corect to say " to be popular among"? Or in all cases "be popular with" must be used?
Thanks a lot!

Hello Daniel157,

It's good to consult a dictionary for this kind of question. In the Cambridge Dictionary entry for 'popular', you will see the answer to your question in the example sentences, where both 'with' and 'among' are used.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

I'd live in a big house by the sea if I were rich
In the above sentance can we use was instead of were. I think we use were only for plurals.

Hello Satish Patil,

Both 'was' and 'were' are possible in conditional sentences of this kind. In fact, in the past it used to be only 'were' that was acceptable, but not 'was' is also quite common. The reason for the use of 'were' is that the past form in these conditionals is actually not the past simple but the past subjunctive. The past subjunctive is identical in form to the past simple apart from this use of 'were'.

I think in formal contexts 'were' is still preferable, but 'was' is quite common in more informal language.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

By our conduct god requires that we be holy. Why does it say "we be" instead of "we are"? Thanks for your answer.

Hello PaolaO26,

This is an example of archaic language which we can find in old literature but which is not used in modern English. The form is the subjunctive and it is the same as the base form of the verb. In modern English it is rare but does occur after certain verbs. For example:

I suggested that he go.

She insisted that Paul be told the truth.

However, these are quite rare. In old forms of English the subjunctive was more common and was used after more verbs, including 'require' as in your example.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, Sire!
I've been troubled with my writings lately and I have problem with this sentence,

"You were the only light that shone very brightly."

Is it grammatically correct? Or do I have to put V-ing after were.. Or what term should I use when I'm using "were"? Thank you so much!

Hello stdeandra,

The sentence is grammatically correct, but whether or not it is appropriate will depend upon the context. You could say '...the only light shining...' and ' brightly' but these are stylistic choices, not grammatical questions.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

1= tools of the palaeolithic types continued to be made . so sir i can not understand why is here sentence used = to be = word in sentence.

Hello birajmehta,

The construction here is a passive form of the infinitive:

continue to do (continue + to infinitive)

continue to be done (continue + passive infinitive)

You can read more about passive forms on this page.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team